Tip #1 - Do not blindly believe the size on a tag.
We’ve all been there; you walk into a shop in a great mood and every time you turn around there’s something else you absolutely love. You start picking everything up until the fitting room is completely full. You can’t wait to get in there and start trying on all of your amazing finds, but when you finally start unzipping and taking things off hangers, hardly anything fits how you imagined. One shirt is too tight on your arms, another shirt has too much fabric and makes you feel frumpy, two others show rolls you didn't even know you had. By the time you find one you like you’re so discouraged that you don’t even feel like walking to the counter.
The kicker? They were all a size medium - the size you swear you’ve always worn. What’s the deal?
Let’s just get this part out of the way right now- It is 100% how the garments are made and 0% about how your body is made. Read that again.
Okay, now that we’ve settled that, let’s talk about 4 reasons that this sizing catastrophe happens and how we should approach each sizing situation as a consumer.
1. The simplest answer to this issue is that instead of using a generic size chart, each designer generally comes up with their own sizing based on their target market. Here is an example of how this situation would play out in real life: A teenage girl walks into a Forever 21 and tries on a size small shirt and it fits her perfectly. This is because she is that store’s “target customer”, but if that same girl walks into a White House, Black Market and tries on a size small, it will most likely be too big for her because their “target customer” is a young professional over age 25.
This same thing could happen at a shop like ours- some of our brands have target markets that are age 18-25, while others are designed for age 30+. This doesn’t mean someone who is 45 can’t wear the first brand, it just means they’ll most likely have to size up.
Something else to keep in mind about size charts- They’re always based off of generalizations. No two bodies are exactly alike (yay for individuality!), so how is a size chart supposed to be made that makes sure every person’s arms, legs and waist are accounted for? It would be impossible.
When something doesn’t fit in the size you think it should, don’t take it so personal. Just grab the size up or down, then cut the tag out if you need to!
2. The second most likely reason is because of how the item was designed to fit. Clothing is made to fit in such a wide variety of ways these days. “Oversized” (AKA too big for you) is a very on-trend fit right now. Which means when the designer made the garment, they meant for it to fit you at least one size too big.
Keep in mind that when it fits big, it may actually fit perfect according to the original design of the garment. However, YOU are the consumer. You are the one who is buying it and wearing it! So, if you don’t want it to fit so big, size down until your heart’s content and you feel good!
Same goes for when something fits a little too tight- just because it was designed to fit that tight, doesn’t mean that you have to wear it that way. Size up! Do not ever be ashamed to size up. It’s a style thing- not a body size thing. If you want your style to be tight fitted shirts, then buy the tight fitted shirt in your “normal” size and rock it! But, if you want to wear that same fitted shirt and also have it look the most flattering, then size up until you feel comfortable. Again, there is no shame in trying on more than one size until you find the correct fit.
This is important, so lean in close: A shirt that fits you well in a size large is more flattering than a shirt that fits you too tight in a size small. No one sees the tag when you’re wearing an item of clothing, they just see how it fits you.
3. Different fabrications are also going to make a huge difference in fit. A poly-spandex mix is going to have quite a bit of stretch, while a linen top will hardly have any at all. When making both of these styles, the designers most likely kept the same size chart instead of taking the amount of stretch into consideration. Can you imagine having to come up with multiple size charts for each fabrication? That would be overwhelming!
You may be able to size down in the poly-spandex, while having to size up in the linen. Before you try on, feel the fabric of the styles you're picking up. If they have stretch, don’t be afraid to grab your size and a size down! Same goes for items with no stretch- grab a size up.
4. The final reason is just due to simple error or poor design. A lot of clothing is mass-produced, meaning that multiple patterns are cut at the same time using large machinery. When you cut that many items at the same time, there are going to be some errors in size. As far as design goes, every style isn’t going to be a homerun- sometimes items just don’t fit how they’re supposed to- try a different size and see if it helps the fit.
For this reason, never count out the possibility of a different item in the same size and style fitting. What I mean by this is: if you have on size 29 bootcut jeans and they’re just a smidge too short, go ahead and try on another size 29 in those same bootcut jeans. You will be shocked by the amount of times another pair fits just slightly different- and sometimes you luck out with that extra half inch that you needed.
Here are a couple things to keep in mind when shopping:
Having a great tailor in your back pocket is always a good idea. Of course, having someone who knows how to hem your jeans is helpful and necessary, but have you ever considered taking in a jacket that’s too long in the sleeves, a dress that’s too tight in the waist, or a jumpsuit whose straps are just a little too long?
If you find that dress of your dreams, but the fit is just a little off, don’t count it out! If you truly love it, it will be worth the extra dollars it takes to make it perfect. Take the dress to your tailor- She or He will know what to do. If you need suggestions for sewing and alteration shops, just ask at BLC! We’ll have some ideas for you.
When shopping online, make sure to read product descriptions. I’m not one to get caught up in all the little details, what I’m generally looking for is whether or not an item “runs true to size”. On our site, we make sure to always list how an item is fitting in the shop. If it’s fitting how we think it should fit, we write “true to size” in the description box. If it runs true to size, but is an oversized fit, we make sure to note that, too. If it doesn’t run true to size, we’ll let you know if you should size up or down.
We hope this gives you some peace of mind when ordering from us online and if you ever have fit questions, just ask!
If an item is puckering or pulling anywhere on your body, go ahead and try a size up. If you can’t see where your waist starts or ends, try a size down. If something feels a little snug in your shoulders, put your arms up to 90 degrees and make sure you’ll be able to drive in it! When in doubt, if something is fitting too big or too small, try another size. 9 times out of 10 you’ll know right away which size is the best fit.
Something we’ve learned over time- It’s always more fun to go down a size than up a size. Like I’ve said this whole article, there is nothing wrong with going up a size! But the mind is a funny thing and this tends to be a true statement. If you are between sizes, try the larger size first, then ask for the size down if you want it. At Beautiful Life, we’re always standing by ready to grab you another size while you’re doing your biz in the fitting rooms. Just hollar!
Our stylists try on new product as it hits the floor to gain product knowledge and know how things are fitting. This helps us help you find styles that fit correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Our shop is the last place you should ever feel self conscious about your size or how clothing is fitting your body. We’ve been there, we understand, and we want to help you feel good about yourself just the way you are.